Thierry Malandain began his dance career with the Ballet du Rhin. He then joined the Ballet Théâtre Français in Nancy where he stayed until 1986. This is where he gained his first experience as a choreographer. In 1986, he left the Nancy Ballet Théâtre Français and founded the Temps Présent company in Elancourt. Ballets such as L’Homme aux semelles de vent, Edgar Allan Poe and especially Folksongs brought him recognition as a young up-and-coming talent. In 1991, he choreographed Pulcinella on stage at the Maison de la Culture in Saint-Etienne. The director was in the midst of guiding the institution towards its new role of Opera-Theatre. He proposed hosting the Temps Présent company in residence in Saint-Etienne. During this time the choreographer created several of his most well-known ballets such as La Fleur de pierre, L’Après-midi d’un faune, Casse Noisette, etc.
In 1997, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication and the city of Biarritz gave him the opportunity to start the 19th French CCN (National Choreographic Centre). The Centre Chorégraphique National and Ballet Biarritz were created in September 1998.
In 2003, Ballet Biarritz took a major step. For the very first time, the troupe officially performed in Paris (Théâtre National de Chaillot), as well as Moscow. It was at this point that the CCN became one of the centre’s ensuring the greatest number of annual performances with a substantial international presence. Many of Thierry Malandain’s 80 ballet works are part of the repertoire of other major companies, from Caracas to Hong Kong, as well as West Palm Beach, Riga, Tunis, Karlsruhe and even at the Sadamatsu Hamada Ballet. In France, at the Opéra National du Rhin Ballet, Ballet National de Marseille, Opéra National de Bordeaux Ballet, etc.
In 2004, he became the Artistic Director for Le Temps d'Aimer dance festival organised by the city of Biarritz. He gave up this position in 2005 before permanently returning to it in 2008.
In August 2009, Thierry Malandain was promoted to the rank of Officer of Arts and Literature (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres). The company was then renamed “Malandain Ballet Biarritz” beginning a new era for the choreographer.
In 2013, he created the Ballet Cendrillon (Cinderella) which was unanimously acclaimed by both the press and audiences. He was awarded the "Best Choreographer Prize" for this creation at the Taglioni European Ballet Awards by the Malakhov Foundation in Berlin.
The Malandain Ballet Biarritz company was awarded the "Best Company Prize" by the Association Professionnelle de la Critique de Théâtre, de Musique et de Danse (Theatre, Music and Dance Critique Association) in 2017 after Parisian performances of his ballet Noé (Noah) at the Chaillot-Théâtre National de la Danse.